Day One Down & Four Remain For World Record!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Rob Lawler

We are just past  the 24 hour mark of our World Record Bell Ringing contest and four bell ringers are still ringing strong! This contest raises awareness for…

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Six Bell Ringers Going Strong For World Record!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Six volunteer bell ringers remain in our World Record Bell Ringing contest after 24 hours of nonstop bell ringing to raise awareness for The Salvation Army’s 122nd annual…

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I heard the bells at Rock the Red Kettle!

Saturday, December 17, 2011
Photo Courtesy of http://www.kcoy.com

Bell ringing record breaking fever is everywhere.

I am in Los Angeles for The Salvation Army’s second annual Rock the Red Kettle concert at Universal’s CityWalk. Check that out here. This morning while I was in the lobby of my hotel, I heard that familiar ring of The Salvation Army bell. Like Pavlov’s dog my ears perked up and I began to search out that oh-so-familiar sound.

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Bell Ringer’s Singing Inspires “Giving Back”

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Salvation Army of Minneapolis, MN received a rave review of a certain kettle bell ringer stationed at the Mall of America last week. “As we were walking…

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Some Tips from the Reigning Online Kettle King

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We know. Salvation Army bell ringers are probably all over the place in your town! but there’s even more of them that you don’t see because their kettles are all online.

Yep. Virtual bell ringers.

And Jim Cummings from Denver, CO seems to be the virtual kettle king. So far this season his online kettle has raised a hefty $52,000, nearly 75% of his $70,000 goal. The guy’s good!

So good, in fact, that this is actually his 5th year in a row to raise the most money for an individual online kettle. As you recall, this Thanksgiving his efforts earned him a trip to our Red Kettle Kickoff in Dallas. In past years his outstanding kettle also won him another trip to Dallas to attend The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board Conference. Jim is on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Metro Denver where he is 1st vice chair.

[Jim Cummings]
Jim hands out and posts cards encouraging people to donate to his online kettle. This is one side…

How’s he do it? Jim does a great job of reaching out to friends, family, and coworkers through email to encourage them to help him fill his online red kettle. And even something as simple as an email pays off big.

“I am a retired partner of Deloitte and a large portion of my gifts come through present and past Deloitte personnel from all over the world,” he says. “I have received gifts this year from Hong Kong, UK and Germany.”

But as many contacts as Jim already has, he’s not afraid to enlist the help of acquaintances.

Jim regularly volunteers with a real bell and kettle at Walmart and the mall. When people pass by or donate their change, he hands them a card he pre-printed with information about how to donate to his online red kettle. They may forget Jim’s name and web address by the time they get home, but they’ve got the handout to remind them! He also posts the cards at various places like Starbucks and church.

[Jim Cummings ]
…and this is the other.

How does he feel after all that work?

“It was a lot of fun,” he admits. “A lot of people wanted to see me win.”

His impressive record has earned him a special nickname from his church pastor:
“#1 ding-a-ling.”

So what advice can Jim give someone who wants to support The Salvation Army but doesn’t think standing on street corners with a bell and kettle is their thing?

He recommends do it all online by hosting you own virtual red kettle. The website is easy to work with and raising support is as simple as sending an email to friends and family.

To start your own individual or team (yes, get others involved too!) kettle, visit www.onlineredkettle.org.

Who knows, maybe next year you’ll give Jim a run for his money for the 2011 title of #1 ding-a-ling.



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Check Out These Ringers

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We’ve been hearing about some unique Red Kettle bell ringers who are using creative approaches to help raise more money for Salvation Army services in their communities.

These ringers will make you take a second look if you pass by their kettles.

Tinker the Tiny Horse. She doesn’t have hands but she still manages to ring for hours. Watch video

Elvis Presley -The King lives afterall…singing and ringing and shakin’ his hips at Wal-Mart. Watch Video

Union Soldiers Vs. Confederate Soldiers – They’re at it again, but this time they’re fighting for bragging rights of best Red Kettle fundraiser. Read more

Dallas Cowboys Football Players vs. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – This team is even competitive off the field…but do they stand a chance against the ladies? Read more

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The Story of the Red Kettle

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We’re officially in the Christmas season, and chances are you’ve seen or will soon see our Salvation Army Red Kettles and bell ringers while you’re out and about.

Our Red Kettles have become a holiday icon – just ask anybody about them and they’ll know what you’re talking about. But do you know how this tradition started?

Today I thought it would be helpful to share the history of The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle Campaign to give you a deeper understanding of the heart behind this century-old tradition. Here goes:

In San Francisco during December of 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor, but he had no way to pay for all that food from his own pocket. So the question remained, how would he do it?

His thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing he saw a large iron kettle called “Simpson’s pot” into which passers-by dropped charitable donations.

The next day he received permission to place a similar kettle at the Oakland ferry landing. No time was lost in securing the pot and placing it in a conspicuous position, so that it could be seen by all those going to and from the ferry boats. Beside it he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” Word spread of his endeavor and he quickly raised the funds to feed 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas day! But he didn’t end it there.

By 1985 the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army locations along the West Coast, and shortly after they spread to the East Coast. In 1897, the kettle fundraising campaign in Boston and other cities helped pay for 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.

Thus, Captain McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world.

Today, donations raised through our Christmas Red Kettle Campaign fund a vast range of Salvation Army programs and services that serve 30 million Americans year round.

So remember, when you’re dropping a donation in to a Red Kettle, you’re continuing a long standing tradition, but most importantly, you’re making it possible for The Salvation Army to continue to serve the those most in need.

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Salvation Army Bell Ringer Sets a World Record

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Salvation Army captain is the newest name to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records! Captain Ken Chapman from The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division set the record for continuous bell-ringing for 30 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds, breaking the previous record of 28 hours and 50 minutes set in Canada. Congratulations!

But the stunt was more than just about having his name go down in history. Dressed in his Salvation Army uniform with his hand bell and a Red Kettle close by, Captain Chapman’s goal was to recruit more bell-ringing volunteers and raise awareness of the great need in his local community.

In fact, Salvation Army units across the country are looking for volunteer bell ringers. If Captain Chapman can ring a bell for more than a day straight, we’re sure some folks out there can do it for an hour or two!

Please contact your local Salvation Army to learn more about how you can sign up to be a Christmas bell ringer. We can always use more.

In the meantime, Captain Chapman is giving his arms a rest while he waits for his record to be certified by Guinness World Record officials in London.

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Bell Ringers – From Festive to…Funky?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I can’t wait to see Salvation Army Red Kettles on street corners and outside store fronts and to hear the accompanying ring of hand bells.

Part of my anticipation has to do with the festiveness wrapped up in this tradition. For me, that familiar scene triggers the comforting realization that the holidays are here.

Most of my eagerness though has to do with the people. I can’t help but appreciate and respect bell ringers who have obviously taken time out of their schedule to stand on sidewalks and ring their hearts (or hands?) out in order help those in need.

My favorite is when I see a bell ringer get creative and incorporate their talents, usually singing or playing an instrument. Sure, it kicks up the “fun factor,” but mostly I love how a person’s devotion to their cause can inspire them to use their imagination and inspire others in return. With that in mind, you’ll understand my excitement when I came across this video this morning from The Salvation Army’s Northern Division (serving Minnesota and North Dakota):

I’ve seen carolers, and I’ve seen musicians, but rappers? That’s a first!

Apparently the “Salvation Souljas” made the music video to recruit more volunteer bell ringers, so I don’t know if they actually rhyme and dance when they’re manning the Kettles.

But if we happen to see an increase in funky, flowing bell ringers this season, now we know where the trend started!

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In Need of Holiday Volunteers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.

Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.

Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.

Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”

Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.

One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.

For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:

Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.

Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!

It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?

After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”

Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.

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